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American Airlines Changes Baggage Rules & Expands Basic Economy To Asia & Oceania


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American Airlines has just announced some changed to its baggage rules as well as indicating that it will begin to sell Basic Economy fares to its destinations in Asia and Oceania. Some of the updates are positive, but there’s bad news buried in there too.

American Airlines Baggage Rule Changes

Premium Economy

As of today, 23 February 2021, all American Airlines Premium Economy fares will come with a baggage allowance of 2 free checked bags regardless of the route being flown.

If you’re used to booking long-haul Premium Economy fares this may strike you as an odd thing to call a “new” policy as international Premium Economy bookings have always had a 2-bag allowance. However, American Airlines also offers Premium Economy fares on select domestic/regional routes (e.g. on some routes to Hawaii), and on these routes the airline has historically only given passengers a 1-bag allowance. Not any more.

Book a Premium Economy fare between DFW and Hawaii and you’ll now get a 2-bag allowance.

All American Airlines Premium Economy bookings now come with a 2-bag allowance.

Main Cabin

As of today, 23 February 2021, all American Airlines long-haul Main Cabin fares (Economy Class excluding Basic Economy) will come with a baggage allowance of 1 free checked bag regardless of the route being flown.

This isn’t going to be a policy change that affects most people as American Airlines has long offered just 1 checked bag to Economy Class passengers on most long-haul routes, but it’s a cut for some flyers.

Up until now, American Airlines has offered 2 free checked bags to Economy Class passengers flying to Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, so flyers on these routes have just had their usual baggage allowance halved.

AAdvantage Platinum Pro, AAdvantage Platinum, and oneworld Sapphire members will continue to have a 2-bag allowance as part of their benefits package while AAdvantage Executive Platinum and oneworld Emerald members will continue to enjoy a fee 3-bag allowance courtesy of their elite status.

American Airlines Expands Basic Economy

What a lot of people may not realize is that although American Airlines Basic Economy fares are offered on all of the airline’s domestic routes, some of its international routes have managed to remain free of the Basic Economy option so far. As of today, however, that’s changed.

American Airlines says that it is introducing a new Basic Economy offering for flights to Asia, Oceania, and Israel, and if you head over to aa.com you’ll find that the Basic Economy fares are already bookable on some of these routes.

Basic Economy fares are no bookable on flights to Israel

I can’t see Basic Economy fares being offered to Hong Kong or Australia on aa.com just yet, but when the fares are added to those routes I *think* that will mean that all American Airlines international routes will finally offer the Basic Economy option.

Importantly, however, where American’s transatlantic Basic Economy fares do not offer passengers a checked bag…

…the Basic Economy fares that are being introduced on the airline’s routes to Asia, Israel, and Oceania will come with a 1-bag checked-baggage allowance.

Bottom Line

American Airlines is tweaking its baggage policies so that all Premium Economy fares now come with a 2-bag checked-baggage allowance and that all Main Cabin long-haul fares come with a 1-bag checked baggage allowance and these changes will create winners and losers alike.

In addition, American Airlines is expanding its Basic Economy fares to a number of international routes that had managed to stay free of basic Economy up until now. The airline’s routes to Asia, Oceania, and Israel will all soon offer Basic Economy fares but a least the fares on these routes will include a single checked-bag.

Will these changes from American Airlines affect your plans or your choice of airline?

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